Hollywood writers go back to work

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of keyboards clacking, pens scribbling, and overpriced latte orders echoing across the Sunset Strip... which can only mean Hollywood writers are back. 

What happened: After 148 days on the picket line, Hollywood writers are returning to the word factory today after board members of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with studios and streamers.

TIFF’s sponsorship tiff

Usually, when we talk about Tiff’s troubles, it’s about Tiff Macklem’s ongoing battle with Canadian inflation. Today, however, we’re looking at a different TIFF: The Toronto International Film Festival. 

What happened: Over 200 actors, directors, and other entertainment industry professionals signed an open letter to TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey asking for the festival to drop RBC as a sponsor due to what they claim is the bank’s “colossal” funding of the oil and gas industry. 

Streaming may get more lucrative for musicians

For artists who don’t change the economic outlook of a city with a couple of concerts, some extra money from a new royalty deal could go a long way. 

Driving the news: Universal Music—the world’s largest record company—has cut a deal with French streaming service Deezer to change the way royalties are paid to artists, a move that could be the first domino to fall in the reshaping of music streaming’s business model. 

Writers’ strike hits Day 100

As the Hollywood writers’ strike hits its 100-day mark, a resolution is still a long way away. 

Catch-up: The Writers Guild of America (WGA), the union representing about 11,500 scribes behind American film and TV, has been on strike since May 2 after failing to reach a new deal with the AMPTP, the body representing the studios and streamers. 

It’s a Barbenheimer world

Two of the year’s biggest films, Oppenheimer (about the father of the atomic bomb) and Barbie (about, well, Barbie), are out in theatres and making for an unlikely double feature.

Driving the news: Cineplex reported that, as of Wednesday, 60,000 Canadians had bought advanced tickets for both films, with 65% of buyers planning to watch them on the same day.  

Blame the Hollywood strike on AI

Hollywood is in the midst of its first industry-wide stoppage in over 60 years, and it’s all thanks to the unprecedented advances of AI and streaming. 

What happened: Some 160,000 Hollywood actors are on strike as of this morning, after failing to reach a new labour agreement with the body representing studios and streamers.

Are moviegoers tired of Pixar and superheroes?

Twin box office flops this past weekend involving pillars of modern moviegoing—Pixar and superheroes—paint a concerning picture for studio execs trying to get butts in theatre seats.

What happened: Pixar’s Elemental had the worst opening weekend ever in Canada and the US for the fabled animator, earning just US$29.5 million on a $200 million budget. DC’s latest The Flash also disappointed, falling ~$15 million short of the studio’s expectations. 

Netflix gets creative with sports streaming

Love is Blind fans may never forgive Netflix for the outage that spoiled the live reunion, but the company is ready to venture back into live programming… only this time, with sports. 

ESPN cuts the cord

Cable TV isn’t dead yet, but ESPN’s departure might be the last nail in the coffin. 

What happened: Disney-owned ESPN plans to start offering its channel as a subscription streaming service, giving people access to the biggest live sports channel without needing to pay for a cable bundle, per The Wall Street Journal.

Hollywood haggles Canada

The Motion Picture Association (MPA)—a trade group made up of major Hollywood studios, including Disney and Netflix—published a report claiming that Canada’s system for defining homegrown content is unusually narrow and out of step with the rest of the world.